Solemnity of Good Friday

Dear readers, listeners and fellow bloggers:

Good morning. Today practicing Christians like us remember the time when Our Lord Jesus Christ had his Last Supper with his disciples before being detained in the Gethsemani Garden by the Romans. Caravaggio masterfully retrieved that moment in a tableau for us to visually catch it.

Note. This reproduction of Caravaggio’s The Taking of Christ was taken from Wikimedia Commons.

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Caravaggio_-_Taking_of_Christ_-_Dublin_-_2.jpg

When we were young, we always went the church of Nuestro Señor de la Paciencia, a decrepit old church in the basement of a larger one in Montevideo, Uruguay, with our grandmother Yolanda and our mother Gladys. the childhood memories are so tender and solemn at the same time, made us use them as background for a scene in our novel Madame D.C – the Three Voyages. Here is an excerpt of that book that you can find as a Kindle edition by clicking this link. Enjoy the reading.

-“Anda, chaval, no podeis quedaros atras!” was the curt admonition of grandmother Pilar to his grandson, holding his hand in the long procession inching slowly downstairs in the church of “Nuestro Señor de la Paciencia” in the old quarter of Montevideo during the Good Friday festivity of 1965. As Pilar was in town at the time of Easter recess. Carmen thought that her mother—piously devout of “La Macarena”—might like that special ritual.

It was an ancient church located in the basement of a bigger one in the old part of town, open only on Fridays due to its precarious architectonics. Parishioners could not visit it except on Good Fridays when they arrived en masse to thank for a granted favour. Or to ask for one. Or for both things.

Carmen, Pilar, Didier and Nadine parsimoniously walked down the steep stairwell along dozens of women that were clutching plastic flowers, alternatively chanting hymns or fervently praying during their slow descent. Downstairs, they gasped at the terracotta images dotting the whole contour. The children liked to examine all the small copper ex votos affixed to the grimy walls depicting arms, legs or eyes, reminders of the Almighty’s aid.

Pilar and Carmen kneeled down before San Antonio di Padova, patron saint of suffering lovers, their hands locked tight and praying in total silence. They both felt the dangerous threat, morphing in hiding but palpably close.

In the main altar there was an intriguing image of Jesus Christ seated on a rock and holding a slender baton in his left hand. The right hand was holding his reclined bearded visage, which had a decidedly gloomy look.

Padre nuestro, que estás en los cielos, santificado sea el tu nombre…

The loud praying of some committed old ladies echoed through the pews.

Didier was transfixed by the Christ’s melancholic image, free of pain.

Vénganos en tu reino, dános el pan de cada dia y no nos dejes caer…

That Christ was telling him that living meant waiting for something.

Y líbranos del mal, Amén…Padre nuestro , que estás en los cielos…

The litany of fervent prayer, carried out non-stop by devoted women, was a testimony of their big needs and even bigger hope for relief.

After half an hour of staring at the seated Jesus, praying and shedding a few tears, Carmen decided to lead the group out of the cavernous building. They slowly made their way upstairs in the middle of a crowd, back to the waning sunlight of a fall evening that was threatening to turn extremely cold.

– “How about if we go visit Tio Pepe?” said Carmen to the children.

-“Right,” Didier said, “he’ll invite us with hot ‘chocolate and churros’—“ They walked briskly a few city blocks to reach their Uncle’s house.

-“Bienvenidos,” Tio Pepe said when he opened the door. “Adelante!”

Let us celebrate together the utmost sacrifice made for all of us by Jesus Christ, Our Savior.

We take pride in the great Catholic faith conveyed to us by our dear parents and grandparents.

Muchas gracias Mamá y Mita.

AMÉN !!!

What do yo think? Please tell us.

Don’t leave me alone.

 

 

Happy Easter

Dear readers and fellow bloggers:

Good morning. We wish a Happy Easter to all our Christian relatives and friends around the world. We are anxiously waiting the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ tomorrow, Easter Sunday. It is, together with Christmas festivity, the holiest day of the year for Christians and we always respected it. Our brother Gustavo yesterday reminded us that a day like today, Good Friday, we used to go to the Nuestro Señor de la Paciencia, a very old church in the Old City (Ciuda Vieja) of Montevideo, Uruguay, with our mother Gladys and our grandmother Yolanda. In fact it s a quaint little church below a bigger one, sitting in its basement with an access through a very steep marble stairwell. We slowly descended, firmly holding the arms of our ageing grandmother, until we reached it.

At the altar, an image of a sitting Jesus Christ reminds us of the value of patience and being patient. All around the walls, there are hopeful little mementos (limbs, hearts, heads, etc.) that the Faithful had planted after fervently praying for the well-being of their loved ones with their personal wishes. In our novel Madame D.C, – Three Voyages , we described the visit of our characters to this site. It has always been a site of strong emotional significance to us, Montevideanos, and we miss it badly. Due to its precarious architectural parameters, it had been open only on Good Fridays for decades. Today, due to the pandemic restrictions, it will remain closed. Closing our eyes, we are right there.

Note– This image of Caravaggio’s The Incredulity of Saint Thomas was taken from Wikimedia Commons. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:The_Incredulity_of_Saint_Thomas-Caravaggio_(1601-2).jpg

According to Saint John’s Gospel, Saint Thomas was the only disciple of Jesus Christ that doubted his resurrection on Easter Sunday, saying that he would not believe it until he personally poked his finger in Christ’s wounds with his own finger. He missed the first appearance of Jesus Christ to his disciples. Then Jesus Christ appeared to him and prodded him to put his finger inside his wounds. After Thomas made sure that he was in front of Jesus Christ resurrected, Our Savior told him:

Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” John 20:29.

Caravaggio reproduced this Biblical tale in that great masterpiece painted around 1601-1602 and now housed in the Sans Souci gallery of Potsdam, Germany. In these terrible pandemic times, many of us are asking the same question: “how come God allowed this tragedy to unfold over Mankind?” With all the extra burden shoved on our financial and familiar dimensions, due to the draconian Public Health measures that severely limit our mobility, our faith is being put to the test everyday. How many times have we paused for a few seconds to mull over the same painful question:

“Why did you abandon us God? WHY?!!!”

Let us pause for a moment and reflect on the many blessings that we have in this valley of tears. The big scientific advances of the last few years have enabled the design and creation of good vaccines. The new Biden-Harris administration has efficiently distributed million of doses all over the country. Both my children and myself are now vaccinated and protected against the ravages of Covid-19.

How can we avoid feeling that God has always been at our side and never let go of our hands?

But the deliverance from this pandemic must make us reflect about the future course of our lives. We cannot go back to our ill-advised consumerism that is gravely damaging our planet’s ecosystem. We cannot ignore that millions of human beings are living in miserly conditions all over the world. We cannot tolerate that warmongering among nations, tribes, groups, etc., are destroying families. And we have to stop deluding ourselves that, even if we ignore the above, we can “save our skin.”

“Gésu était en agonie jusqu’à la fin du monde. Il ne fau pas dormir pendant ce temps-là.” (Jesus was in agony until the end of the world. We should not be sleeping during that time) Blaise Pascal

This is no time to go back to our old “sleep mode.” It is time to wake up and take positive action.

Thank you very much God Almighty.

What do you think? Please tell us.

Don’t leave me alone.

A pious well balanced dinner for Good Friday

Tonight we are having a very pious and well balanced meal, within the solemnity of Good Friday, the most painful day for all practicing Christians. Little food, no meat of any kind and plenty of beer.

Following the millennial monastic traditions, we pray in silence while we drink in a communal way.

We remember how the Son of God died for our sins, crucified by the Romans in the Golgotha hill. May he accomplish again the Miracle of Resurrection next Sunday for the joy of all of us, Christians.

Amen!

What do you think? Please tell us.

Don’t leave me alone.